Belinda Bencic Reveals Abnormal Lung Diagnoses Following COVID-19 Infection - UBITENNIS
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Belinda Bencic Reveals Abnormal Lung Diagnoses Following COVID-19 Infection

The tennis star has been told it may take her some time before she returns back to full fitness.

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Belinda Bencic hits a backhand during a Women's Singles match at the 2021 US Open, Monday, Sep. 6, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

Reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic has been told it may take a few weeks before she returns back to full health after doctors detected something in her lungs which was ‘not normal.’

The world No.24 is currently playing in the St Petersburg Open where she is the fifth seed. In her two opening matches she has defeated Veronika Kudermetova in three sets followed by a more straightforward triumph over Kaja Juvan. During those encounters the Swiss player was seen breathing heavily at times which has been put down to the after effects of her catching COVID-19.

Bencic tested positive for the virus after playing in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition in Abu Dhabi last December. She was among a series of players who caught COVID-19 during the time of the event, including Rafael Nadal and Emma Raducanu. The virus affects people in different ways with Bencic saying at the time that she was suffering from ‘severe symptoms.’

Whilst she is now recovered, the 24-year-old revealed that a subsequent medical examination has found an issue with her lungs but she didn’t go into details about the exact diagnosis. She has been told that it could take up to three months for her to fully recover.

“It was not easy,” Bencic said of her recovery from COVID during a press conference following her win over Juvan. “I have been diagnosed with something in my lungs which is not normal. And still, I’m happy I can play but it’s going to take me a while to recover—they said about two, three months.
“I think it happens with a lot of athletes that your fitness, it’s not the same level.
“So, it’s very tough but I have to, you know, just work with what I have.”

Bencic says she had to start her 2022 season by accepting that some of her results on the Tour ‘is not going to be the best’ during the first couple of months. At the Sydney International she reached the quarter-finals before suffering a second round loss at the Australian Open.

“It’s also what happened, in Australia,” she said. “I kind of expected I will maybe not have the best chance to win a lot of matches, but I’m trying my best to get back to shape.”

Bencic will next play second seed Anett Kontaveit in St Petersburg. This week she is bidding to win her sixth WTA title and second on Russian soil after the 2019 Kremlin Cup.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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